Thomas woke up sweating and generally frustrated at everything for no reason at all. “It’s just a dream…” he muttered to himself over and over again, “Only a dream!” But still, he couldn’t shake off the feeling that his dream held something important.
Finally he gave up on trying to fall back asleep and instead slipped out of his bed and got dressed. Soon he was on his way up the mountains that separated him from his best friend, a dragon named Thistle.
Eight years had gone by since Thomas and Thistle’s last adventure, so climbing the tall mountains between them was much easier for Thomas now than it had been when he was a young boy of ten.
As he hoisted himself over a rock in the trail, Thomas suddenly chuckled. “Thistle is not going to appreciate me waking him up at this time of night.” He whispered out loud to himself. “But I have a feeling that my dream is important, and in that case, Thistle should know about it.”
Shivering in the cold, Thomas dropped down off the last rock and landed in the barren valley that surrounded Thistle’s cave. For a moment he hesitated in front of the cave, afraid of Thistle’s temper. Overcoming the temporary fear, he knocked on the rock near the entrance boldly.
Thankfully for Thomas, Thistle had also just had a dream, and was awake thinking about it when Thomas’s knock reached his ears. Wondering what Thomas was doing up this late at night, Thistle crawled out to the opening of his cave.
Thomas was still shivering, so Thistle brought him into the warm cave and waited until he had sat down on a nearby rock before satisfying his curiosity.
“Why are you here?”
Thomas sighed. “I had a dream…”
“What do you mean, ‘you too’?” Thomas asked in surprise.
Thistle smiled. “I had a dream too, and I was going to tell you about it tomorrow when you came for your regular visit.”
“Do think they’re the same dream?”
“I don’t know, let’s compare: What was your dream about?”
Thomas’s brow furrowed, and he chewed on his lip thoughtfully. “Well, the funny thing is, I don’t know what my dream was about, I just woke up with the feeling that someone was in serious trouble and needed our help.”
“Yes, mine too.” Thistle nodded. “Someone is in trouble and needs help.”
“Obviously, they need our help, since we’re the ones that got the dreams.” Thomas put in.
“True, however, I had hoped that you had maybe dreamt more information like where this someone is that needs our help, and what they needed our help for.”
Thomas shook his head. “Unfortunately, I didn’t dream more information. I can only assume that whoever needs help isn’t on this island.”
“Well, that makes sense.” Thistle agreed. “Otherwise we would have heard about it.”
“That makes it even harder for us!” Thomas threw his hands up in despair. “It means that whoever the someone is could be anywhere on any of the islands! It would take years for even the fleetest of my father’s ships to search all the islands properly, and by then it might be too late! For all we know, our mysterious “someone” is in danger of death at any moment right now! It’s hopeless…” Thomas’s head sank into his hands.
Thistle listened to Thomas’s speech in silence, an amused smile on his face. Once Thomas had stopped, he said quietly, “You forget that I’m a dragon.”
Thomas brought his head out of his hands and looked up at Thistle, confusion written on his face. “I know you’re a dragon…” he said. “What has that got to do with anything?”
“For goodness’ sake Thomas!” Thistle exclaimed, “I can fly!”
The dawn of understanding broke onto Thomas’s face, but was quickly clouded over again. “You can fly, and that speeds up the search, but even you can’t search all the islands in time.”
Thistle smiled mysteriously. “I’d have help.”
“Help? What sort of help?”
Thomas gasped. “More dragons? Where would you get more dragons?”
“I may be a hermit dragon, and not have as many friends as other dragons, but the dragon friends I do have are good ones and I know that they would be willing to help.”
“Which dragons are you going to get?”
“Well, a couple of my friends are treasure dragons.” Thistle began. “They’re a more violent breed of dragon, but loyal to the end if you happen to have the luck of befriending one of them. If you ever read stories about dragons, they are often treasure dragons.”
“I think you should be in a story.” Thomas grinned. “Our village will never forget how you saved us from that awful chieftain.”
Thistle hurriedly changed the subject; anytime someone praised his deeds it made him feel slightly uncomfortable. “Treasure dragons are also very clannish.”
“That means that if you’re related to one all you have to do is holler ‘Help!’ and all of them will come running.” Thistle explained.
“I see. Are you related to one?”
“Yes. I forgot to tell you about that.” Thistle replied sheepishly. “Remember when I took the chieftain away? Well, I took him to an island that my distant cousin, Brier, lives on. She and I go back a long time.”
Thomas raised an eyebrow. “Is she a treasure dragon?”
Thistle nodded. “And I know that she’ll be willing to help. She always loved anything exciting.”
“You’ll still need more than one dragon.”
“There’s also Prickle.”
“Is he a treasure dragon?”
“No, he’s actually a racer dragon. I saved him from a hunter’s trap once, so I’m sure he’ll be more than willing to repay that deed. He talks very fast, and usually has to repeat his sentences a few times before I can understand him. Also, he tends to do everything in a hurry and has a habit of running around things in a circle. You’ll get used to his unusual ways after you have known him for a while.”
Thomas’s eyes were shining now, and he leaned forward eagerly. “Any more dragons?”
Thistle smiled. “Yes. There’s Bramble.”
“Is he a treasure dragon or racer dragon?”
“He’s a treasure dragon. Bramble is very cautious and thinks a long time before making any decisions. Very steady, and has an uncanny knack of being able to read another’s mind. I’m sure he’ll want to help though, because I helped him avoid trouble once by letting him stay in my secret cave.”
“Wonderful! This is absolutely splendid. Any more dragons?”
“Nettle is another dragon that I think will help me. She’s related to me in a way.” Thistle smiled at Thomas’s eagerness.
“What sort of dragon is she?”
“A royal dragon. Her father was directly related to the original Spike the Great.”
“Wow!” Thomas breathed. “How is she related to you?”
“That’s a long story!” Thistle began. “But one I think you would like, so I’ll tell it.”
“Please do!” Thomas begged.
“Thorn the Terrible, the most evil dragon that has ever lived, raided the palace in which Nettle was born, and her mother was killed when their palace caught fire. She barely had time to put Nettle, as a baby dragon, down into the palace well before the fire killed her.”
“I agree, it was terrible, but to continue the story: My father was a guard for the king’s palace, and he too was killed in the fire at almost the same moment as Nettle’s mother. I was only a young dragon then. As it came to pass, the king dragon fell in love with my mother, who was helping as a nurse for Nettle at the time. So, long story short, Nettle and I practically spent our entire childhood together before I became a hermit dragon and isolated myself on this island.”
“What a fantastic story!” Thomas exclaimed. “You’re right, I did like it!” There was a small pause. “Any more dragons?”
Thistle laughed. “How many dragons do you think it will take? Isn’t five enough?”
“The more the merrier.” Thomas shrugged.
Thistle sobered. “Now, here’s a plan for what to do next: I, of course, will be collecting the dragons I just mentioned. When I have finished, I’ll be bringing them all back here, to my valley.”
“How much time will that take?” Thomas asked quickly.
“No more than a day I would think.”
“I’ll meet you here, tomorrow, then?”
Thistle nodded. “I think that will be the best idea. If I start now, it’ll take all the less time and we dragon’s will be able to rest a bit before we begin our search of the islands.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Thomas agreed. “Good luck finding all the dragons Thistle.”
Thistle took off, tipping his wings in a final farewell to his human friend.
How is it? Do you think it's better than the first story?